Sizing Up RTB’s Value For Large And Small Businesses

SooJin_Newsroom

by James Green
CEO, Magnetic

 

user_media_coverage-logo-59

Featured on MediaPost’s RTB Insider, September 15, 2014

 

Over the last decade, search engine marketing (SEM) has served as an integral part of marketing strategies for businesses of all sizes. It doesn’t matter if you are playing in a global, national or local league, SEM allows the right message to be delivered to the right person in real-time, providing a high value to marketers. Even after a decade, this strategy has not yet lost its luster. If anything, we’ve seen SEM grow beyond the search engine and into the world of display advertising, opening new doors for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). As many say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

The recent shift to real-time buying (RTB) and growth of programmatic marketing has changed the traditional way of buying display media, making it more actionable for smaller businesses than ever before. With traditional forms of display advertising, advertisers had to cough up large sums upfront in order to reach their target audience for a given campaign. The challenge for SMBs was that they didn’t have access to the sizable budgets of larger advertisers, and therefore felt limitations in terms of scale and reach. However, because of the influx of programmatic marketing and real-time buying, algorithms are enabling the right ads to be delivered to the right users in real-time using dynamic pricing models.

Now that RTB has become so widespread, it’s catching the attention of virtually all companies, regardless of size, and there are different ways of utilizing it depending on your business. For instance, although display advertising offers a near infinite supply of inventory, not all marketers need to flood the market to create impact. Instead, the most efficient and effective display strategy leverages the best of both worlds (i.e. search and display). This enables you to reach the consumers that you want to influence throughout their path to purchase, including when they show purchase intent and even after they have left your website.

The preeminent tactic for any business is to build its target audience based on two distinct factors: site traffic and search activity. While site retargeting works well, there won’t ever be enough traffic to build a scalable marketing program — therefore, it becomes critical to look at other audience attributes that signal intent, such as search data/keywords. For smaller businesses, intent-driven display advertising can play a prime role in customer acquisition and retention. If done right, you can create highly efficient and cost-effective strategies where you continue to reach and nurture your audience beyond the search engine and re-engage them after they’ve left your website. This is a very powerful approach for attracting, capturing and converting prospects.

The ability for marketers to deliver their ads on premium content through RTB levels the playing field for advertisers of all sizes. For example, advertising on ESPN.com now becomes somewhat affordable and just as important as smaller blogs, because you know you are reaching the right end user. Businesses with small and large budgets can reap the benefits of these new opportunities afforded by retargeting strategies that leverage both site and search data.

There are approximately 28 million small businesses in the United States alone, many of whom have most likely not even scratched the surface of the value of display. There is so much value in RTB and programmatic marketing, with the added benefit of not having to commit massive amounts of dollars to specific publishers – allowing marketers to optimize and improve strategies in real time, just as in SEM. As programmatic marketing use continues to grow, we will see further parity between search and display, resulting in more RTB activity for SMBs. There is plenty of room for brands of all sizes, large or small. May the best strategy win.

 

From Coffee To Mobile King: How Starbucks Serves Up Its Mobile Strategy

SooJin_Newsroom

by Soo Jin Oh
SVP, Data Business and Ad Operations, Magnetic

 

News-Posts-Logo-MarketingLand

Featured on Marketing Land’s Mobile Marketing Column, September 11, 2014

 

The Siren, the emblem of Starbucks, is not only an iconic symbol — she depicts the obsession that the coffee king has cultivated in all of us worldwide.

“She is a storyteller, carrying the lore of Starbucks ahead, and remembering our past. In a lot of ways, she’s a muse –always there, inspiring us and pushing us ahead,” a senior writer identified only as Steve M. posted on Starbucks’ corporate blog in 2011. “And she’s a promise too, inviting all of us to find what we’re looking for, even if it’s something we haven’t even imagined yet.”

As expected of a dangerous yet alluring creature, we’ve succumbed willingly and almost unconsciously to the daily habit of paying $5 for a cup of joe that was once less than a buck.

Starbucks Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said at the company’s 2012 Investor Conference that “Starbucks will have more than 20,000 retail stores on six continents by 2014 and more than 200,000 points of global CPG distribution by 2015.”

Today, Starbucks rules the world of coffee and it’s on its way to reigning over the mobile kingdom as well. (Disclosure: Starbucks is not a current client and has never been a direct client of my employer, Magnetic, though the company did run a campaign for Starbucks through an agency in the past.)

Whipping Up More Than A Frappuccino

Static bland 320×50 ad units that people accidentally tap or don’t notice at all aren’t acceptable for Starbucks. Instead, the coffee company does it up with its mobile ads using Mobile Rich Media Interface Definitions (MRAID).

These ad units not only expand to fill full mobile screens, but they incorporate the unique mobile features of swipe, tap, and shake for users to engage with their brand and then share within their social sphere.

Marketers need to build on the same level of sophistication in their own mobile creative and take full advantage of the full screen and user engagement capabilities, which MRAID allows them to do.

Here’s a mock-up of an expandable ad designed to be displayed on an iPhone, so you can get a taste of the interactivity. (Editor’s note: Please excuse the clunkiness, but you can interact with this mock-up. Also, be aware that clicking on the call to action should launch a video with audio.)

In addition to full screen mobile ads, Starbucks has boosted engagement over the last year through SMS messaging campaigns. In return, the consumer receives images featuring animals holding a Frappuccino of their own.

It is important for marketers to look beyond standard mobile ad units and take advantage of the ways in which mobile platforms make it exciting for consumers to opt-in to brand marketing programs.

The Starbucks App Enchants & Engages

Hopefully all marketers have learned by now that spending marketing dollars with the single goal of increasing app downloads is costly and ineffective.

Engagement with apps is key and also a bigger challenge. Starbucks clearly is winning here by incorporating the following features.

Mobile Payments & Transactions: Starbucks recently launched its newly enhanced payment app for iPhone where customers just need to shake their phones for the payment barcode to display. It also launched the digital tipping option where customers can tip their barista through their phones.

All of these innovations in mobile payments seem to be working; the company droveover $1 billion in mobile payment revenue in 2013, according to estimates from Business Insider’s research service, BI Intelligence.

In Asia, the largest mobile market with a significant number of mobile transactions, consumers bump phones at subway stations as a way to pay for their fare. Within China alone, nearly $1.6 Trillion was spent across mobile in 2013, according a The Next Web report citing statistics from the country’s central bank. Although the United States is a bit behind, BI Intelligence last year estimated that mobile credit and debit card transactions had grown 118% on average each year over the previous five years.

Rewards & Loyalty Program: How do you incentivize your users to give personal information such as a credit card number to use your app? Loyalty programs play a critical role in retailers’ success. The Starbucks app captures all of your purchases, gives you points and advances you to tiers where you can get promotions and offers, which ultimately attracts you back to your nearest Starbucks location.

By enmeshing the loyalty program with transactions, Starbucks looks beyond point of sale and towards customer experience. In May of last year, the company furtherexpanded its program to include purchases made outside its stores, a move largely unprecedented in the retail world.

It Incorporates The Latest To Be The Greatest

Instead of following trends, Starbucks creates them. The company implements the latest technology, such as QR codes, coupon downloads and virtual gift cards to elevate itself as an industry leader, all while capitalizing on the traditional technology of the store locators and click-to-call features in its app. With all of these digital components, many are starting to think of Starbucks as a technology company rather than just a coffee spot.

Starbucks itself certainly acknowledges the important role mobile plays. In a letter to shareholders (PDF) regarding fiscal 2013, Schultz said:

“The relationship that we have with our customers has always been core to our brand. Today, these connections are more powerful than ever because of the combined, complementary influence of our global retail footprint, our world-class digital and mobile technologies, and our innovative loyalty programs.”

It’s no surprise that Starbucks was named Mobile Marketer of the Year twice in the past three years and that its payment volume has seen a 73% increase year-over-year, according to Business Insider. The beverage giant always uses mobile strategies to promote new product launches, services and holiday deals in order to drive product awareness and in-store traffic.

Mobile is a front-running strategy for Starbucks, not an add-on. It is truly innovative in the mobile space, and all of these digital developments have improved upon the already-positive customer experience it provides. Starbucks is definitely a brand to watch in this space, and other brands should look to it as a model for taking their own mobile advertising to new heights.

Magnetic’s Retail Therapy – September 10, 2014

Retail Therapy Image

1. Use Of Mobile Shopping Apps On The Rise

A recent study proves the growing prevalence of mobile retail as consumers increasingly use apps to engage with brands, compare product prices, and check for coupons and discounts.

“The future of checkout is more than just using a mobile app or device for a quick and easy checkout, says the report. 51% of the survey respondents indicated they would be very likely to use mobile apps to speed-up the checkout process when they become available. Almost half of all participants reported that they would favor a store with advanced mobile capabilities, which would encourage them to shop with the retailer more, buy more per visit and even pay slightly more.” MediaPost

 

2. The Omni-Channel Approach: The Next Big Trend In Retail

Magnetic’s CEO, James Green, sheds light on the importance of adopting an omni-channel advertising strategy for retail brands in the August edition of Footwear Plus.

“Whatever you’ve done as it works for a computer, the first thing you should do is make sure it works for tablets and phones, too. Try to think of the consumer as having multiple personalities as it relates to their devices: desktop, phone, tablet, even though it can be hard to tie those things together.” Footwear Plus

 

3. Secrets Of In-Store Mobile Use

More and more, consumers are wielding their mobile devices as a shopping tool. If retailers are to benefit from this influential device, they must first understand the myriad of ways in which consumers are using mobile to drive their purchasing decisions.

“Contrary to popular retailers’ assumptions that mobile devices primarily encourage shopping directly on the device or online, mobile actually aids consumers shopping in-store the most.” eMarketer

 

4. Brick-And-Mortar E-Retail Rookies See Swell In E-commerce Revenue

Online purchasing from home improvement stores like The Home Depot and Lowe’s is becoming more popular as retailers establish their e-commerce footing.

“The home improvement sector is building its case as an emerging leader in e-commerce sales, according to the latest research from eMarketer Retail. The Home Depot increased its e-commerce revenues nearly 50% in the trailing 12 months, while Lowe’s grew e-commerce revenues 37.8% year over year.” eMarketer

 

5. DVF Designs Cross-Device Ad Campaigns with Smarts and Style

Fashion brand Diane von Furstenberg optimizes their mobile strategy by remodeling the retail experience across different devices, adapting DVF ad banners and videos for smartphones or tablets.

“DVF’s ad on a tablet gives consumers the option to swipe to watch a video without leaving the Web site, whereas the smartphone version only allows for a click-through directly to ecommerce. Designing ads for how consumers use different devices is a tactic that makes sense.” Luxury Daily

To learn more about how Magnetic can help you attract your audience, contact us here: http://www.magnetic.com/contact-us

Attraction To Action: How Marketers Can Capitalize On The Middle Funnel

SooJin_Newsroom

by James Green
CEO, Magnetic

 

user_media_coverage-logo-59

Featured on Marketing Land’s CMO Zone, September 8, 2014

 

Attracting a consumer no longer means luring them into your brick-and-mortar store. “Attracting” is now a much more loaded term and has many implications along the purchasing cycle.

There are hundreds of versions of the consumer funnel; sometimes it is flipped upside down or it can even be horizontal. But regardless of how the funnel is positioned, consumers always follow a similar flow: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action.

Marketing messages are important at every stage of the consumer funnel, but advertisers sometimes have a tendency to focus on the upper and bottom stages. They often leave out core strategies related to the middle, where consideration and the ability to influence a customer is most critical.

Messaging In The Middle

At the beginning and lower stages of the sales funnel, retailers are attracting customers into their consideration set, or perhaps even their “re”-consideration set. That’s one of the reasons why SEO has become ubiquitous and why retargeting is becoming so well adopted.

The rules of attraction indicate that serving the right ad after the customer has already approached your website and declared intention by searching for the product can be the ultimate reinforcement to turn intent into a purchase.

However, what is happening in the time between the initial site visit and the conversion? A lot of activity occurs between the awareness and action stages.

Nurturing The User On Social And Content Sites

If you are a retailer, it is highly possible that you are already using search engine marketing and site retargeting. However, once a consumer searches and leaves the search engine, are you nurturing them as they engage on social and content sites?

Without a way to leverage intent at every stage of the funnel, you are most likely missing out on the opportunity to influence brand preference and/or action.

Some retailers are putting a lot of funding behind social media campaigns, but a recent study by PunchTab finds that Twitter chatter isn’t actually moving the sales needle for back-to-school, with just 1 percent of respondents consulting the social media platform for back-to-school purchases.

Facebook seems to have more impact: 22 percent of moms use it for information on school products. Product review and shopping comparison sites are other environments where consumers look for information related to their purchase intent.

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 9.36.28 AM

With search retargeting, you can capture keywords across these types of search entities and also serve up ads related to the consumer’s intent. This type of intent data allows marketers to predict what shoppers are in-market for before they even visit a website.

The Education Stage

Let’s take this one step further. The best way for any marketer to attract more customers is by combining their site and search retargeting efforts. Think of the middle funnel as your education phase and opportunity to influence your audience.

In many scenarios, this is still early in the path to purchase and represents the best time to show highly relevant marketing messages customized based on real-time behaviors.

With retargeting strategies, marketers eliminate the challenge of reaching a finite audience, which is generally determined based on site visitations. Other types of retargeting efforts that can help take prospects through the awareness and consideration phases include dynamic creative retargeting, which helps marketers serve up ads customized to the audience.

For example, if you recently searched for a vacation in Miami, you might see an ad featuring Miami travel deals. With dynamic retargeting, the creative contents of an ad can be optimized to the end user in real time. This approach is used in the lower funnel stages when consumers are close to purchasing or in the event that they may have left a site without completing their transaction.

The real beauty of retargeting is that just because a user has converted, it doesn’t mean that you have to abandon that relationship. The ability to retarget allows you to ignite the funnel process over and over again, remaining top of mind as consumers continue on their many paths to purchase from search engines to content and media consumption to site visits.

The consumer funnel, regardless of its shape or position, represents a consistent consumer journey. Using intent data at multiple consumer stages will assist brands in the process of attraction to action.

Magnetic NYC takes on AC!

Members of the Magnetic team hit Atlantic City this past weekend and had a blast! We had a fun filled day of jet skiing followed by a delicious dinner at Revel’s Amada Restaurant. At night, we felt like VIP’s with private black jack and craps tables. We can’t wait to come back next year!

Check out some pictures from the weekend below!


How Retailers Can Leverage Mobile To Boost Holiday Sales

SooJin_Newsroom

by Soo Jin Oh
SVP, Data Business and Ad Operations, Magnetic

 

News-Posts-Logo-MarketingLand

Featured on Marketing Land’s Mobile Marketing Column, August 17, 2014

 

Although we are smack in the middle of the summer season, consumers are already beginning to think about holiday shopping. According to a 2013 Google study, people are making their wish lists — and shopping lists — earlier than ever.

In July 2013, nearly half of surveyed shoppers had already made plans regarding when they were going to purchase their gifts. For those actively planning, 30% were expected to start before Halloween and 9% were planning to start before Labor Day.

3-strategies-to-prepare-for-the-holidays_articles_01

Those consumers starting their shopping earlier than ever are looking online to help them make up their minds, accessing the internet from a multitude of devices.

One major channel that is sure to impact retailers more than ever this season: mobile. eMarketer estimates that somewhere in the neighborhood of 18-20% of all holiday season sales this year will occur on mobile devices.

US Retail Mcommerce Sales 2011-2017

This trend doesn’t just hold true for large retailers. According to an Ink from Chasereport, small businesses are planning for mobile shoppers and adapting their mobile brand experiences to prepare for the busiest shopping season of the year.

The percentage of sales happening on mobile is a bit lower for small businesses – estimated at 13% in 2013 – as small business owners are still working to acclimate to consumers’ preferences and spending habits to ensure they get the biggest bang for their buck over the holidays.

Regardless of whether you are a large or small retailer, here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to m-commerce and holiday shopping:

Consumers Want To Save Money

Consumers are continuously using their mobile devices to identify innovative ways to save money. According to data from Placed, receiving coupons, discounts and comparing prices were among the most common ways marketers used their devices to shop on Black Friday.

Pricegrabber shared insights last year that point to pricing comparison and deals as a main theme for mobile devices. In the survey of nearly 4,000 online shoppers conducted in October of 2013, 61 percent said they planned to download coupon apps for holiday shopping; 55 percent said comparison shopping apps; 54 percent intended to download apps from their favorite retailers; 50 percent said they would download Black Friday and Cyber Monday apps to search for the best deals; and 44 percent planned to download apps with the ability to scan barcodes (presumably for price comparisons).

Additionally, a Forrester study commissioned by RetailMeNot (PDF) this year found that 55% of smartphone coupon users will spend more money during their online or in-store visit than they originally anticipated. Forty-four percent will drop between $26 and $50 more, while  17% will spend an extra $50 or more.

forrester-retailmenot-smartphone-coupons

Therefore, retailers should invest in mobile promotions and coupons to meet consumer demands.

Mobile Can Push Consumers Down The Purchase Funnel

Since mobile devices help close the gap between online and brick and mortar stores, retailers should look at mobile as yet another way to push consumers down the purchase funnel.

Tapad and Forrester’s recent study on the consumer’s path to purchase showed that 31 percent of customers who turned to digital channels for their last purchase used multiple devices along the way. And, interestingly, mobile was able to play a role in different parts of the funnel, though it was stronger earlier in the purchase process.

connected-consumers-forrester-tapad-study

And consumers’ reasons for switching devices varied, Forrester found, though the quality of the user experience was the most common reason given.

mobile-purchase-consumer-experience-forrester-tapad

When you adapt your holiday marketing for mobile, it is important to understand the role of mobile devices and how their unique engagement elements – such as click-to-call, swipe, or even showrooming – help to increase brand engagement and ultimately contribute to the sale.

Consider Tablets As Retail Breeding Grounds

While many people put tablets and smartphones in the same bucket, there are a few distinguishing factors that come into play when it comes to retail. Tablets, for one, are significant for m-commerce sales growth as they provide a more laid-back environment for browsing and purchasing.

Last year, eMarketer predicted that tablet retail m-commerce sales in the U.S. would hit $37 billion in November and December of 2014, while it expected that tablet purchases would account for 62.5% of overall U.S. retail m-commerce sales in 2013.

Interestingly, the smartphone piece of the m-commerce sales pie was only expected to come in at 35% last year. This number will likely shrink as sales on tablets maintain a far higher growth rate.

Take Advantage Of Mobile Ad Targeting

The amount of time and consumer activity that occurs on mobile devices is increasing, and as a result, mobile is quickly becoming a viable marketing channel for brands to reach, engage and influence their audiences.

Nielsen data points to multiple intent-based behaviors occurring on mobile devices such as researching, finding store locations, redeeming coupons and managing shopping lists.

 

mobile-shopper-activities-nielsen

Additionally, with cross-device targeting solutions now available, marketers can leverage signals of intent occurring on desktop and tailor messages across more than one device – laptops, smartphones and tablets.

The ability to extend your ad targeting strategies, specifically those that focus on intent such as site and search retargeting, to mobile represents a huge opportunity for marketers to reach and remain connected to consumers in the months leading up to the holidays.

It’s hard to believe that while we are only a few months away from the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season, it’s already time to get your mobile digital advertising strategy ready.

Viewability Rising As Programmatic Dominates & Fraud Proliferates

SooJin_Newsroom

by James Green
CEO, Magnetic

 

user_media_coverage-logo-59

Featured on Marketing Land’s Display Advertising Column, August 11, 2014

 

The number of companies using programmatic ad buying is increasing by the day. A recent Advertiser Perceptions survey reports that 78% of high-level decision makers are now using programmatic technologies and strategies across campaigns.

On the positive side, programmatic allows marketers to buy audiences using data and increases media efficiencies. However, concerns within the real-time bidding (RTB) world are mounting around whether or not ads have a fair shot at being “in-view,” or even seen by a real human vs. a bot.

The “Bad Actors”

The brunt of the issue comes from sites (also referred to as “bad actors”) that claim to have what appears to be significant traffic, and offer those impressions on exchanges. These publishers either cover their sites with ads in order to report a large number of impressions and/or aggregate content to portray a credible environment. These sites don’t provide audiences with content and/or useful information, and are hyper-focused on generating traffic and clicks.

The industry has a variety of names for this behavior including “suspicious traffic,” “fraudulent impressions,” and “non-human traffic”– also known as “bots.” The fake clicks are executed by a “botnet,” which then completes the action of clicking on display ads.

Bots are committing wide-scale fraud beneath operating system levels; often this is undetectable—most of the time we just don’t know if our computers are infected. The average person isn’t equipped with the necessary knowledge to recognize when they are being victimized by fraud.

It Affects The Entire Ecosystem

Although this ultimately impacts advertisers, the entire ecosystem is affected because it impacts supply and demand.

In order to determine if your ad is viewable, there are several sources you can use to check viewability rates. According to DoubleVerify, RTB buying dipped from 48% viewable to 43% from Q3 to Q4 2014. The percentage fell from 55% to 51% at ad networks and from 64% to 58% on publisher-direct exchanges.

However, the world of digital display advertising has become so vast that it is almost too difficult to measure. Recent numbers show that the number of available ad impressions is all over the map (well in the trillions per year for just one ad exchange). When you compare the number of impressions a year to the total U.S. population of internet users, it would actually mean that a given user potentially sees about 6,000 ads per month.

Therefore, there are more daily ad impressions available than the average internet user could possibly see in a day.

eMarketer_US_Display_Ad_Spending_Share_by_Type_2011-2017_164874

Digital advertising remains the most effective form of advertising in the world. In order to make sure you are not getting taken advantage of, implement an anti-fraud solution and move beyond post-click attribution, which is the easiest form of attribution to fake.

Current Metrics Are Too Easy To Game

Traditional metrics like post-click, click-through and view-through conversions have made it fairly simple for fraudsters to game the system across the open marketplace. When marketers optimize to view-through or last-click, the media partners that recorded the last view or conversion event are rewarded. Occasionally, such rewards lead to optimization towards suspicious traffic and create high conversions.

However, in the end, this results in essentially no real consumer response and no brand exposure. In other words, advertisers waste their media dollars on ads that are never actually seen.

RTB is a double-edged sword: it’s created efficiencies and opportunities for the digital marketer while also cultivating problems for publishers and advertisers. For the entire ecosystem, it has created an exponential increase in ads, the companies who serve them and measure them, and the potential for fraudulent traffic.

Viewability Is The Solution

Viewability is the common denominator that will solve these negative practices in the digital marketing industry.

Now that we’ve hit the second-half of 2014, we’ll see more brands demand that their partners, including publishers and media providers, implement anti-fraud solutions. This should help marketers become more comfortable with using viewability as a viable brand measure for digital display.

Ultimately, everyone has a stake in steering the industry toward better quality measures. The short-term impact may be a bit scary for publishers, media firms and agencies alike, but the end result will create a more viable display ecosystem and a thriving future for programmatic that we all know is possible.

Magnetic Launches Viewability Whitepaper

Recently, Magnetic released its whitepaper entitled “Viewability: The Antidote for Toxic Ad Environments,” which takes a deep look at the mounting fraud and suspicious traffic across programmatic inventory in display advertising. As the industry aims to establish credibility in the real-time buying ecosystem, there is an increasing need for better quality measures, standardization, and enforcement from both the buy and sell sides. Only by rallying behind these issues can the industry move toward solving for viewability.

Check out Magnetic’s whitepaper to learn more. Key insights include:

  • Economic impact of fraudulent traffic
  • The benefits of RTB
  • Brand safety challenges online
  • Creating viewable impression standards
  • Industry actions & new technologies

Click here to download Magnetic’s Viewability Whitepaper!

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 2.45.43 PM

Advance From Multichannel to Omnichannel Strategy

SooJin_Newsroom

by James Green
CEO, Magnetic

 

Featured on CMS Wire, July 29, 2014

 

ComScore recently reported that 67 percent of consumers start shopping on one device, but complete the purchase elsewhere. In another survey conducted by TapAd and Forrester, more than 70 percent of consumers reported using three or more devices during their purchase journey.

In a world where consumers have so many choices and access to endless information, marketers must organize brand experiences so that they are tailored to the omnichannel customer.

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

Most retailers have taken the first steps towards omnichannel marketing by implementing digital strategies alongside more traditional forms of selling products and reaching audiences. But before marketers can begin to address big hurdles such as cross device brand experiences, personal marketing and ensuring information related to inventory and products are relevant and updated in real time, they must ensure that their multichannel strategy is sound and in place.

Multichannel marketing can serve as the foundation for taking your brand omnichannel, but using so many channels in unison effectively is a tough nut to crack. Most retailers simply don’t have the software and data infrastructure to power awareness across channels in a manner where nearly every consumer touch point connects to another. It’s best to start small and evolve your marketing to be omnichannel over time.

Build a Digital Foundation

Digital is the channel in which retailers engage and remain connected with consumers, so your online storefront — be it mobile web or website — should be optimized. This includes testing the conversion path, optimizing landing pages and creating a social strategy that supports traffic and engagement to these environments.

Once your landing pages are in place, start with search engine marketing. GE Capital Retail Bank’s second annual Major Purchase Shopper Study showed that 81 percent of consumers go online before making a purchase. Judging from my own experience, consumers are asking marketers to respond to their searches.

Search strategies can help drive more visits to your website or store and influence consumers at the beginning of their purchasing cycle. While many tend to consider organic search before paid search, they significantly affect one another and should go hand in hand.

Activate Display Advertising with Intent Data

If consumers are searching for your product and visiting your website, use those website visits and your entire CRM database to kick-start your retargeting efforts. Site retargeting enables brands to re-approach customers by reaching them with ads related to their on-site behaviors.

As a marketer, you know a lot about your customer and have first party data that should provide you with the means to create custom ad experiences. Using intent from third party data related to your customer’s journey, such as search activity and keywords, is another way to capture, attract and influence during the path to purchase. Use search data as an indicator of consumer intent. For example, if I searched for “men’s suits,” it would make sense for a retailer such as Brooks Brothers to reach me in the search engine, with display ads as I move across the web, and then as I read content on my tablet. Search retargeting is a powerful digital marketing strategy for acquiring new customers and moving them along in the funnel.

Connect Across Screens

Many marketers tackle real time engagement through programmatic buying that uses first and third party data for ad targeting on the mobile web and other points of brand engagement. This includes using data within mobile apps, which help drive up brand loyalty, or for personalized offers based on location and store proximity. Retailers can also leverage data to deliver product recommendations right to your mobile device and link online and in-store traffic.

Where should a marketer start? First, establish your mobile presence with an app and mobile optimized site. Next, begin testing data-driven advertising on the mobile web and then begin to layer in features that satisfy the demands of your customers such as QR codes or showrooming.

Macy’s and Best Buy are two great examples of retailers adopting omnichannel strategies. Macy’s continuously encourages shoppers to scan products via their mobile app while shopping in brick and mortar stores. Macy’s annual digital plan focuses heavily on mobile and seeks to “close the gap between store, desktop and mobile.”

Another example of Macy’s mobile focus is its deployment of a touchscreen shopping option within the handbag department to let consumers self-checkout. A concurrent TV campaign is also running, in which the commercial messaging drives viewers to download the retailer’s app.

Best Buy’s omnichannel strategy centers on adding value to brick and mortar retail stores that were, for a time, threatened by e-commerce competitors. Adding a “Store Pickup” option within its online shopping process turned out to be a major win for the brand. Although many shoppers compare products and buy online, some still prefer to pick up goods in person from a physical store.

Omnichannel is a natural progression from multichannel marketing and will continue to become widely adopted as consumers’ engagement across devices increases. The retail industry will also change as new technologies influence the customer experience and close the gap between channels. In this omnichannel world, attribution becomes more important than ever before.

As you steps towards creating awareness throughout channels, implementing data strategies, and syncing up offline and online, make sure you take a coordinated approach that provides real results to help plan the future of your marketing strategy, and even better, overall business.

The Simple Side Of Programmatic

SooJin_Newsroom

by James Green
CEO, Magnetic

 

user_media_coverage-logo-59

Featured on MediaPost’s RTB Insider, July 24, 2014

 

Programmatic buying has become one of the most popular buzzwords in our industry, and as I said a few months back, it’s often used as a catchall phrase or used interchangeably with the term “real-time bidding.” Since then, there’s been much talk about the evolution of programmatic marketing. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that top publishers are now getting in the game and selling home page ads, with confidence, through programmatic channels. Time Inc., Hearst Corporation, Business Insider and others are all on board because the current set of tools available allow for pricing control, circumventing the fear that prices could tumble via a programmatic exchange. In addition, media buying firms and major brands like Procter & Gamble are also looking to buy a majority of online ads programmatically, proving that the wave is unstoppable.

Despite the momentum from many major players in the marketing space, recent research by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Forrester Consulting found that more than half of the marketers surveyed didn’t understand programmatic well enough to buy and execute campaigns with it. Further, just one-quarter of U.S. client-side marketers understand and are using programmatic technology.

Although the world of data and real-time buying may seem overly complex, programmatic marketing actually simplifies our lives more than we think. The fact that we can serve up an ad based on the end user’s behaviors and attributes in 120 milliseconds wherever they are is truly impressive and creates engagements that we may never have thought possible. Instead of focusing on the complexities, we should be looking at the ways programmatic simplifies our lives.

With programmatic advertising, technology and data do a majority of the work, which enables the digital medium to reach audiences at massive scale. The automated process also creates efficiencies across buying media, from identifying the right audience to purchasing and delivering the actual ad.

While some have expressed concern over the changing of the guard from humans to robots, the rise of programmatic doesn’t mean replacing the human element altogether. Instead, the main objective is to make advertising more efficient, relevant and scalable in a world that is quickly adapting to digital technology. It focuses on eliminating time spent on processes that can be automated, and driven by data.

The rise of data is a key component to creating and running successful ad campaigns from buying to optimization. Site and search retargeting are common practices for programmatic marketing, which allows marketers to rely on algorithms to decide which audience to buy, what messages to show and even when to reach them. All of this is done by combining massive amounts of data elements — from site behaviors to purchasing patterns — and then using rules-based logic to make the best decision for your brand. This machine-to-machine process streamlines communication and implementation, creating great efficiencies and ultimately saving on costs.

Without programmatic solutions, marketers would have a hard time keeping up with the digital landscape and satisfying customers. Instead of looking at programmatic as the complex system for advertising, we should be thinking of it as the tool that simplifies our marketing campaigns and enables brands to take full advantage of what the digital medium has to offer.